Treatment

They will depend on the physician’s expert opinion based on the diagnosed tumour or metastasis (Tumour Types). There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for cancer.

The three primary treatments for cancer: Surgery, Radiation therapy and/or Chemotherapy. The type of treatment recommended will depend on a range of factors including the location and type of cancer, the grade and stage of the disease and the patient’s age and general health. In some cases a combination of treatment methods may be used.

It is a treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Medical oncologists specialise in cancer treatment using drugs such as chemotherapy agents. The drugs can interfere with the growth of tumours, shrink or even eliminate the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often an effective treatment however it can cause side effects because the drugs also affect healthy cells.

It uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. It is often used in conjunction with surgery to shrink tumours before the operation and to mitigate re-growth of cancerous cells post-operation. Radiation therapy can be given externally and internally.

It involves the removal of cancerous tissue from the body. For some cancers, surgery is the primary treatment and can even provide a cure but it can also be used as a diagnostic tool.

It fights cancer by changing the amount of hormones in the body to treat certain forms of cancer that rely on these chemicals to grow and spread. Hormone therapy is used for cancer of the prostate, breast and reproductive system, and the side effects vary between men and women, and depending on the drug.

Chemotherapy can be given in quite a few ways: Orally (by mouth, in pill form), Intravenously (IV, through a vein, either as a short infusion or continuously for one or more days), as an injection or needle directly into a body cavity (i.e.: the bladder, abdominal cavity), Intra-arterially (in special cases, such as limb perfusion treatment for melanoma).

The oncology team will discuss the goals of the treatment, the treatment regimen and possible side effects with you in detail. Various people may be involved in the treatment, so it can be confusing at first. Do ask questions at this stage, to remove all uncertainties.

Bring reading materials, crafts (needlepoint, knitting, drawing materials), CD player or radio with headphones, and other items that can help pass the time. Some patients get a metal taste in their mouth as a result of the chemotherapy; mints or mint-flavored gum can help eliminate this taste.

You won’t necessarily experience all the possible side effects. Side effects depend on what drugs are being used, on the dosage and on the patient’s state of health. The oncology team will discuss possible side effects with you, in accordance with your treatment regimen.